An enlarged prostate is a condition that commonly affects older people with a prostate. Symptoms include increased urinary frequency and urgency. People may also experience difficulty starting a urine stream.
The prostate gland makes some of the fluid that goes into semen. The
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This article discusses the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, potential causes, treatment, prevention, and when to speak with a doctor.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
A person with BPH may experience the
- increased urinary frequency, or needing to urinate eight or more times a day
- increased urinary urgency, or an inability to delay urination
- difficulty starting a urine stream
- a weak or interrupted urine stream
- dribbling at the end of urination
- an increased need to urinate when sleeping
- the inability to empty all of the urine from the bladder, also known as urinary retention
- urinary incontinence
- pain when urinating
- pain after ejaculation
- unusually colored urine
- unusual smelling urine
Potential complications of an enlarged prostate
Most people with BPH
Throughout their lives, people assigned as male at birth produce the hormone testosterone and small amounts of estrogen. As they age, the amount of testosterone in their blood decreases, leaving a higher proportion of estrogen.
Studies suggest BPH may occur because the increased estrogen levels in the prostate increase the activity of substances that promote prostate cell growth.
Other conditions that may cause an enlarged prostate
Other causes of an enlarged prostate that medical professionals do not associate with BPH
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland
Treatment for BPH varies. Healthcare professionals treat BPH
- the severity of the symptoms
- how much the symptoms affect a person’s life
- an individual’s preferences
Below are some of the possible treatments for BPH.
A doctor may recommend that people with BPH make the following lifestyle changes:
- reducing their intake of liquids, particularly before going out in public or sleeping
- avoiding caffeine and alcohol
- avoiding or monitoring the use of medications such as:
- training the bladder to hold more urine for longer periods
- doing pelvic floor muscle exercises
- preventing or treating constipation
A doctor may prescribe certain medications to treat BPH. These medications can:
- stop the growth of the prostate
- shrink the prostate
- reduce BPH symptoms
Possible medications for treating BPH include:
- alpha blockers
- phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors
- combination medications
Minimally invasive procedures
Medical professionals may suggest one of several minimally invasive procedures that relieve BPH symptoms when medications do not work. Some of these are
Possible procedures include:
- transurethral needle ablation
- transurethral microwave thermotherapy
- high intensity focused ultrasound
- transurethral electrovaporization
- water-induced thermotherapy
- prostatic stent insertion
These procedures may destroy enlarged prostate tissue. Some widen the urethra, which can help relieve blockages and urinary retention.
A healthcare professional may suggest that a person with BPH undergoes surgery if medications and other treatments do not work.
During surgery, a surgeon may remove some enlarged prostate tissue. They may also make cuts in the prostate to widen the urethra to relieve blockages.
Surgery may be endoscopic or conventional open surgery, depending on the size of the enlarged prostate. Very large prostate glands may require open surgery. Surgical procedures a doctor may recommend include:
- transurethral resection of the prostate
- transurethral incision of the prostate
- laser surgery
- open prostatectomy
Removing prostate tissue does not cure BPH but does help relieve symptoms.
If a person has a high risk of BPH, it is best to speak with a doctor. Early diagnosis can be important as early treatment can minimize the effects of BPH.
Experts recommend that people who experience any symptoms of BPH speak with a healthcare professional. This is because early treatment of BPH can be vital in
Symptoms of BPH may also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as prostate cancer. Individuals who experience any of the following symptoms need to seek immediate medical care:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition in older people with a prostate. It causes the prostate to become enlarged. BPH is not cancerous.
Common symptoms of BPH include increased urinary frequency, increased urinary urgency, trouble starting a urine stream, and a weak or interrupted urine stream. BPH can also cause a person to experience accidental loss of urine and pain when urinating or after ejaculation.
Prostate cancer and chronic prostatitis are other possible causes of an enlarged prostate. It is best for a person experiencing BPH symptoms to speak with a healthcare professional who can make an accurate diagnosis and suggest early treatment options.